The Philippine president-elect Rodrigo Duterte Saturday encouraged the public to help him in his war against crime by shooting and killing drug dealers who resist arrest and fight back.
“Please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun, you have my support,” Duterte reportedly said in his nationally televised speech as he warned about an extensive illegal drugs trade in the country. The trade reportedly also involves members of the police force.
Duterte, 71, was speaking to a large gathering celebrating his presidential victory in the city of Davao.
Duterte said the Filipinos who helped him in the war against crime would be rewarded. “Shoot him and I’ll give you a medal,” he said, according to the Associated Press. As he starts his six-year term on June 30, he reiterated his plan to offer huge bounties to those who can turn in drug lords, dead or alive.
The longtime Davao mayor and former government prosecutor said law enforcers themselves turn to crime either because of “extreme greed and extreme need.” He went on to declare that criminals motivated by extreme greed “will also be dealt with by me. I’ll have you killed.”
In this regard, he asked three police generals based in the national police camp in Manila to resign for involvement in crimes that he did not specify and threatened them with public humiliation if they did not quit.
Duterte has had a history of comments about extrajudicial killings, calling bishops "sons of w----s" and a joke about a murdered rape victim. This does not appear to have affected his popularity in the largely Roman Catholic country.
However, after his comments Tuesday on the recent killing of journalists in the country, press groups denounced him. “Most of you are clean, but do not ever say all journalists are clean,” he said. “Just because you are a journalist, you are not exempted from assassination if you are a son of a b---h.”
Human rights group have been alarmed at the proposed use of violence in his anti-crime drive. He has also been suspected of playing a role in many killings of suspected criminals by motorcycle-riding assassins dubbed the “Davao death squads.” He was not criminally charged and many claim this was because nobody has dared to testify against him in court.